I had spoken a couple of days before to a Brahmachari who assists Swamiji, to check if we could come and meet Swamiji on this day. He had taken my details, and had confirmed to me the previous evening that “Swaagat hai!” – “You are welcome”… And that for the last few months, Swamiji had been attending daily lectures on Shaankara Bhashya of Bhagavad Gita. And that the series had been completed only that day. And so, Doctor Swami was free the next day and we were welcome to come over.
So, there we are, on the way to Brindavan… Nearing it…
Calling the Brahmachari on his mobile phone, we try to fix the coordinates of the Ashram where Swamiji resides… Brahmachariji’s directions are delightfully imprecise, in keeping with general plasticity of time and space in rural India. The directions include references such as “near Hanuman Mandir”, which is perhaps the location marker for any point in any place in upper-interior India! He says we should drive past that and there would be a gate somewhere on the left that would be open, and we should go in. Now, how is one to know which gate. We drive up and down the road, looking for a gate… Surely, as Jiddu Krishnaji has famously said “Truth is a pathless land”. We seek that truth. But mercifully, not in vain….
We spot a gate with no marking.. We drive in and there is a courtyard, next to an imposing temple structure.. And there are fields beyond that.
The outer portal of the temple…
We call Brahmachariji and convey what we see. He confirms we are in the right place. He tells us he is away somewhere, and that we should walk in and first have darshan of Thakurji. We tell him that we see no one around.. He confirms that too, and tells us to go right in, have darshan of Thakurji, and then go behind the temple where there are quarters, where Doctor Swami resides.
We walk in, and find an inner courtyard, and a temple..
We walk into the temple, and there is an inner-inner courtyard, and a sanctum, where stands Thakurji, Lord Sri Krishna, along with his consort… We have Darshan…
Coming out, we go around the temple..
At the back we find a separate set of rooms.. There I spot a man kneading dough, to make Roti. Looks very appetizing… “Radhey! Radhey!”, he says, smiling, greeting us. We reciprocate his greetings and ask for Doctor Swamiji. He gets up and takes us to the door of a room. Asking for my name, he peers in and announces me. We are asked in, and I meet Doctor Swami.. Maybe five years since I met him last… He is very surprised to see me… It seems that Brahmachariji had told him that one Mishraji had called from Chennai and was coming in. Obviously Brahmachariji had not noted my name properly, and names being as plastic as time and space, had approximated on the sound and had come up with the name Mishra. Now, there apparently was a Mishraji from Chennai who was a devotee of Maharajshri, and so Doctor Swami was expecting him. Instead, it was I who turned up. Well, well, all is well! We are welcomed, and there is a general philosophical discussion on how “Truth” when conveyed from a person to another, can get distorted, like me becoming Mishra!
Swamiji’s room is nice and large.
Above the door, inside the room, is a framed picture of Udiya Baba.
On the opposite wall, there is a framed picture of Maharajshri…
Doctor Swamiji is kindness itself. He makes us comfortable, and works out a program for us for the day. He gently insists that we should have lunch that day, as Prasad, in Maharajshri’s Anand-Vrindavan Ashram. We are only too happy to accept… We catch up on our correspondences. Although he has not been expecting me that day, his memory of our correspondence is sharp – a Yogic memory. He talks with Ramey and answers many questions of life and philosophy that Ramey puts him…. Its a wonderful Satsangh…
He tells me how he happened to be in Tiruvannamalai earlier, describing it as the grace of Bhagavan Raamana Maharshi. After Maharajshri had left the body, Doctor Swami had left Brindavan and had taken to the life of a parivrajaka, a wandering monk… In due course, he had come to Tiruvannamalai… On Sivaratri, he was in Sri Ramanasramam, and had Prasad there. He had no place to stay, and was deciding to move on from Tiruvannamalai, when an acquaintance from the Ashram sent word, asking him why he had to move away from there, and that he should continue his stay in the holy town. And quite miraculously, some dwelling was made available, and he found residence with V Ganesan, who is the grand-nephew of Sri Ramana Maharshi. The Ashram agreed to provide for his daily Bhiksha. And that’s how he happened to settle in Tiruvannamalai. After an year or so, he moved to the neighboring town of Tirukkoilur, in the Gnanananda Tapovanam Ashram… And would often come from there to Ramanasramam…. After some years stay in Tiruvannamalai, on the insistent and loving requests of the monks and devotees at Brindavan, he had come back to Brindavan…. The place where he is staying is a Krishna Temple. Apparently, Maharajshri had some mystic communion with Lord Krishna of this temple, and then some devotees from Delhi had set about to acquire the place. The worship and maintenance is now carried out by Maharajshri’s Ananda Vrindavan Ashram.. Doctor Swami stays here… If I am not mistaken, I think he told me that the picture of Udiya Baba that adorns the wall, was the one which Maharajshri had in his own room earlier….
Signing off this post with a picture of Doctor Swami in his room.
Notice the black and white calendar behind him on the wall… That’s a calendar published by Sri Ramanasramam, and the picture is of Sri Ramana Maharshi..
Time is past 10-30 am, and we prepare to go now to Ananda Vrindavan…
** To be continued **